– THE MILITARY COUP –
Sampa the Great (or Sampa Tembo as she’s probably better-known to her Mum) feels like she’s been around forever. Despite that, she’s still yet to release a debut full-length.
Her Godriguez-produced The Great Mixtape dropped in 2015 and since then the Zambia-born, Botswana-raised MC, poet and singer-songwriter has teased us with a number of tantalising follow ups including the acclaimed “Birds and the BEE9” (2017).
But last year genuine rumours started circulating about a proper album appearing and Final Form is the strongest hint yet that a full-blooded, battle-ready breakthrough LP is finally on its way.
Exploding into life like a boxer’s entry music, Final Form lets you know pretty quick it’s not going to pull any punches. Shuckin’ and jivin’ like Little Simz’ Offence, it’s a track whose bark is at least as tasty as it’s bite with a big, bad brass section backed by Tembo’s missives on black power, going into “Beast Mode” and wearing her “afro like an empress”.
The video sees Sampa going back to her roots, mixing performances from traditional Nyau dancers with modern Zambian youth culture references.
“The video was inspired by the belief of having a spiritual exodus back to yourself,” she says. “We often, as black people in the diaspora, talk about the physical return to our roots but not so often about the spiritual. Final Form is meant to start that conversation. It was important for me to do this video in Zambia, the place of my birth and where I’m from, because if I am truly to become the greatest version of myself, I am going to start at the most me I’ve ever been, which is where I started from, where I grew up.”
Final Form is out now as a single through Ninja Tune.
MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S MIX
ABSTRACT ORCHESTRA: AIR
BUBBY LEWIS: GAME OF LIFE
SANS SOUCIS: UNCHAIN
P.S. You can find all of the tracks reviewed above in the 45 Revolutions per Minute playlist below or click to access the 45 RPM Playlist on Spotify itself.
If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), please engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter. And, if you’d like to receive updates weekly, please subscribe to the email list to get these recommendations sent to your inbox weekly.
– SV –